The final Pick Your Poison for the week features some lovely downloads from Graham Czach, Jeremy Bass, Kin Cayo, Led to Sea, Montropo and Wise Blood. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Bully, Crystal Castles, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, Girlpool, Jacco Gardner, The Mary Onettes, Nick DIamonds, OFF! and Wild Beasts.
Happy Tax Day. Hope you’re getting a refund to help brighten your day. If not, you’ll find some delights in this set of music from High Rule, Institute, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, Justin Jay and Magic Bronson. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream tracks from Made in Heights, Maritime, Michael Rault, Noonie Bao, Samantha Urbani, Sarah Cracknell, The Tallest Man on Earth, Tyondai Braxton and The Weather Station.
Today’s Pick Your Poison features some excellent tracks from Mini Dresses, Shark?, Strange Lot and Your 33 Black Angels. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Bill Fay, Expert Alterations, Mew, Moon King, Night Beds, Priest, The Sandwitches, Tim Kasher (of Cursive) and Twin Peaks.
Hope your weekend was grand. We’re really getting into the heart of spring now, so the nicer weather is definitely a huge plus. Today’s Pick Your Poison also has benefits, such as downloads from The Fleas, Frank Rabeyrolles, Hawking, Oh Mercy and Sterling Fox (covering Radiohead). In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Hudson Mohawke, Nero, Protomartyr, Sufjan Stevens, Vic Mensa (ft. Kanye West) and Yvette. There’s also singles from Lindstrom & Grace Hall, Mew and Sam Smith that each get treated to remixes by Fort Romeau, No Ceremony /// and Flume, respectively.
The final edition of Pick Your Poison for the week has some good tunes from Battle Ave, Hawk, Instant Empire, RII and Service Bells. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Advaeta, A$AP Rocky, Ballet School (covering Madonna/Beyonce), Braid, Jenny Hval, Max D, Stealing Sheep, Turn to Crime and Vows.
Here we are once again at mid-week. Chase away those blues by picking up some fresh tracks from Birds of Night, Chromatics, Luxury, This Way to the EGRESS and Winter. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Bully, Freddie Gibbs & Kaytranada, Hutch and Kathy (of The Thermals), Kinski, Psychic Reality, Strange Names (as remixed by Yeasayer), Towkio (ft. Chance the Rapper, Lido & Eryn Allen Kane), Truss and Wilsen.
There are some great tracks in every edition of Pick Your Poison, and this one is certainly no different. You’ll not want to miss downloads from Blood Orange (as remixed by Holy Ghost!), Fred Abbott, In Sonitus Lux, Mic Terror, Nightmare Fortress and NOME. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream new songs from Ben Browning (of Cut Copy), Bent Denim, The Holydrug Couple, The Knocks, Lakker, M+A (ft. Spank Rock), Oddisee, Trails and Ways, and Tunde Adebimpe (of TV on the Radio).
Hope you had a great weekend, whether or not that included Easter and/or Passover celebrations. Jumping right back into Pick Your Poison to start the week, key downloads in this set come from ISTILLFEELIT, Moonbabies, Red Cabin, White Prism and Whitewash. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Active Child, Bitchin Bajas, Cold Cave, Darkstar (ft. Hayden Thorpe), Heartless Bastards, Mark E, Summer Camp and WIN WIN, among others.
The final Pick Your Poison before Easter weekend features some great downloads from Dilly Dally, Matty Rico, We Came From Wolves and XYPO. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Avan Lava, Barna Howard, Meg Baird, Mix Mup, MNDR (ft. Killer Mike), Other Lives, Part Time, Total Babes and Valet.
Your April Fools Day Pick Your Poison has some no-joking tracks from Baauer, Jlin, Mat Shoare and RII. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Actress, Bop English, Container, Herbert, Joywave, Tarcar, What So Not (ft. George Maple) and Young Empires, among others.
Don’t listen to Viet Cong when you’re in a good mood. Happiness has no place within this band’s world. There’s plenty of existentialism, darkness, depression and punishment to go around though, if you’re interested. But that’s pretty much what you’ll get from any artists affixed with the genre label of post-punk. Just look at Joy Division, the go-to post-punk reference, who made it their mission to tell everyone that love will tear us apart. Actually Viet Cong and Joy Division share more than just some sonic similarities to one another. Their names both reference controversial armies/regiments from past wars responsible for plenty of death and destruction. That’s even resulted in at least one Viet Cong show being cancelled specifically because of their name. But they continue to soldier on, because what else are they going to do? What really matters in the end is the music itself, and at the very least in that aspect Viet Cong’s self-titled debut album is a real killer.
What makes Viet Cong such a great and worthwhile record can really be whittled down to a single word: passion. It’s a quality that echoes through every single track, as the band plays with such urgency and hunger that you can’t help but be sucked into their vortex. The creative and unique twist they put on the post-punk label is equally exciting, particularly since so many other artists are simply content to do their best modern interpretation of The Jesus & Mary Chain or Sonic Youth. You can hear Viet Cong hit those touchstones with dashes of bands like Guided By Voices (“Continental Shelf”) and Wolf Parade (“Silhouettes”) as well, but then quickly swerve in obtuse and unexpected directions to keep you on your toes. While such experimental shifts can effectively alienate most listeners who thrive on the safe and familiar, the songs do their part to actively engage rather than shut anyone out. It’s how they can turn an 11-minute song called “Death” into one of the heaviest and most white-knuckle rides of 2015 so far.
Actually, calling the entire album a ride is another great way to describe it. Though the lyrics tend to be less than upbeat and the melodies won’t make you recall a bright, sunny day, this is a really fun and darkly humorous (on occasion) collection of songs. In the middle of “March of Progress” for example, vocalist Matt Flegel brings a serious amount of veiled sarcasm and dry wit to lines like, “Your reputation is preceding you/ We’re all sufficiently impressed/ And this incessant march of progress/ Can guarantee our sure success.” It’s a sly eye roll, scoffing at the idea that artists need to go out of their way to kowtow to critics and crowds in order to get ahead. Such matters aren’t of concern to Viet Cong, and their refusal to compromise or adjust their art for the sake of acclaim and popularity seems to have yielded them healthy portions of both.
As breathlessly exhilarating as the seven tracks of Viet Cong can be, it’s also important to note they’re equally fraught with conflict and a severe lack of any real human emotion. Flegel sings in a commanding monotone best compared to Interpol’s Paul Banks, and when combined with the highly distorted guitars as well as Mike Wallace’s overtly mechanical yet punishing drumming, it can register as very cold and clinical in its approach. Of course such a glassy-eyed approach has roots in post-punk and industrial music in the first place, so it makes sense for Viet Cong to fall in line there. They also avoid any hot button topics such as love or politics in their songs, favoring obtuse and wordy metaphors over clarity and relatability. These are the prices paid to thrive on experimentation and unpredictability. The band places form and function above all else, and such tinkering pays off with perhaps the first truly original record this year.
Happy Tuesday to you and yours. Today’s Pick Your Poison features delights from Fable, Feather Beds, LA Font, Mikaela Kahn, Scenic Void and Snowbride. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Cakes Da Killa, Du Blonde (ft. Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring), Eiko Hara, Eskimeaux, Golden Vesel, Heaters, iLoveMakonnen, The Knocks, Jay-Jay Johanson (covering Bat for Lashes) and Uniform.
Hope you had a great weekend. Let me help your Monday get off to a solid start with downloads from Chick Quest, Foster, Glass Candy, The Helmholtz Resonators, iiii and Verre. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Annabel, Banoffee (covering Frank Ocean), Cillie Barnes, Death and Vanilla, Fred Thomas, Marrow, Priest, Tourist and YØUTH.
There’s some good stuff in today’s Pick Your Poison, including tracks from Catherine Feeny & Chris Johnedis, The Fantastic Plastics, Round Eye, Royal Tongues (covering Alabama Shakes) and Rudy Zygadlo. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Beach Baby, Communions, Girls Names, Govt Mule (covering Radiohead), Mas Ysa, Pfarmers and TOKiMONSTA.
Highlights you’ll find in today’s set include tracks from Arthur Nasson, Creature in the Woods, The Landing, Streetcare Love and White Like Fire. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Drug Cabin, Earl Sweatshirt & Action Bronson, How to Dress Well, Hudson Mohawke, Mavis Staples, MIYNT, Tei Shi, Toro y Moi and Torres.